5 Reasons Why New York Knicks Will Have A Better Record Than Brooklyn Nets
5 Reasons The New York Knicks Will Have A Better Record Than The Brooklyn Nets
With the new season approaching, much is being made of the “Battle for New York” between the New York Knicks and the recently-arrived Brooklyn Nets. The Nets’ recent additions of former Boston Celtics players Paul Pierce, Jason Terry and Kevin Garnett have only further stoked the flames. The two teams have always been relatively close to each other geographically, but they never really formed a true rivalry mostly because they were never top-level teams at the same time. When the Knicks were perennial contenders in the 90s, the Nets stunk. When Jason Kidd led the Nets to the finals in the early 2000s, the Knicks struggled. Now, with both teams hoping to vie for Eastern Conference supremacy, the rivalry has hit a whole new level.
Verbal shots have already been fired by both sides, particularly Paul Pierce and J.R. Smith, two players that already shared hatred from Pierce’s Boston days. Pierce will be bringing his reputation as a “Knicks killer” with him, and Knicks fans undoubtedly remember countless clutch performances, including an infamous moment in 2010 when Pierce hit a game-winning buzzer beater, then ran around the court in celebration, rubbing it in the whole time.
The Nets, in their second season in Brooklyn, have seemingly added the talent necessary to wrest control of the Atlantic Division from the Knicks, the reigning division champs. However, while it could be the case that the Nets end up being the better playoff team, I think the Knicks will have the superior regular season record. The Nets will be dealing with a reshaped roster with a rookie coach, while the Knicks will have more continuity. Here are five reasons why I think the Knicks will repeat as division winners this season.
5. Bench Scoring
In the regular season, bench performance is far more important than it is in the playoffs, when starters generally see a minutes bump as the competition gets tougher. The Knick have a decisive advantage in bench scoring. While Andray Blatche, Jason Terry and Andrei Kirilenko can put the ball in the hoop, their scoring prowess pales in comparison to that of the Knicks’ trio of J.R. Smith, Amar’e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani, all three of which are capable of creating their own shot in isolation. Simply put, the Knicks will be the deeper offensive team.
4. The Nets' Best Players Are In Decline
A few of the Nets’ most important players are well past their prime. Paul Pierce clearly looked worn down towards the end of last season, and while his game was never really based around explosive athleticism, his declining quickness has made it far more difficult to get in the paint consistently (he generated free throw attempts at a career-low rate last year). Kevin Garnett, the man tasked with turning the Nets’ defense around, is 37-years old with tons of mileage. Offensively, he now operates almost exclusively as a jump shooter and he’s not nearly the rebounder he once was.
The Knicks, on the other hand, have most of their best players in the prime of their careers. Carmelo Anthony is 29 and coming off his best season as a pro, Tyson Chandler will be just 31 when the season starts, and J.R. Smith will be 28 and coming off his best performance.
3. Minutes Restrictions
While Pierce and KG could be tremendous difference-makers in the postseason, they are simply too old to carry a heavy load throughout an 82-game regular season. Garnett and Pierce will likely play less than 30 minutes a night to save themselves for the playoffs. It’s the right decision for the team’s championship hopes, but it will assuredly cost them a few regular season wins.
The Knicks lost just one key player from last season (Nets head coach Jason Kidd), and he was a shell of his former self by the end of the season anyway. The only new players New York has to worry about are bench players with relatively small roles. If they choose to use the same philosophy as last year, they will return all five starters from the end of the season. Meanwhile, the Nets have new starters at power forward and small forward and Kirilenko, likely to serve as the team’s sixth man, will have to adapt to a new group of teammates.
In the 2012-13 season, Mike Woodson was not only one of the league’s most innovative coaches particularly on offense, but he also commanded the respect of the Knicks locker room. The whole team seemed to love playing for him. Jason Kidd is completely new to coaching, however, and he doesn’t even have experience as an assistant. It’s not yet clear what his offensive and defensive philosophies are, or how he’ll manage to coach a team full of veterans nearly as old as he is.